Get­ting to know Es­sex’s pro­fes­sional Santa

Get­ting to know Es­sex’s pro­fes­sional Santa

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By: LISA HAR­LOW

The day af­ter Thanks­giv­ing typ­i­cally marks the be­gin­ning of the hol­i­day sea­son, but pro­fes­sional Santa Brian K. Marchetti, who ap­pears at more than 100 events each sea­son, has been prep­ping for months.

“Be­gin­ning in Au­gust, I get in­un­dated with calls, text mes­sages and emails with re­quests for work. Ev­ery­one wants a Satur­day in De­cem­ber, and that’s just not pos­si­ble. I al­ready have much of 2019 booked,” said Marchetti, who now books three oth­ers San­tas as well to fill in the gaps for cus­tomers in Mary­land, Penn­syl­va­nia and North­ern Vir­ginia.

Marchetti, who was born and raised in Mid­dle River and moved to Es­sex as an adult, makes the ideal Santa he’s got the per­fect build, blue eyes that twin­kle and a full head of hair and real beard. This year he had two new suits cus­tom made, hav­ing pur­chased the fab­ric in Florida and the fur in Vir­ginia af­ter a trip to New York’s gar­ment district didn’t meet his ex­pec­ta­tions.

“Ever ything I wear for Santa has to be of the finest qual­ity. You’ll find noth­ing store bought for my Santa cos­tume,” he said. And the re­al­ity is, he al­ways car­ries two suits with him, in case any of Santa’s vis­i­tors has an ac­ci­dent.

In the be­gin­ning, Marchetti stopped shav­ing his beard in the months lead­ing up to Christ­mas, but now in his sev­enth year, he keeps the beard year

round. De­pend­ing on the meth­ods and prod­ucts used, it can take him be­tween one and seven rounds of bleach get his hair and beard snowy white, and he must go back for fre­quent touch-ups through­out the sea­son.

But play­ing Santa is not just about looks. A Santa for Hire needs to have the right per­son­al­ity to do the job as well.

“Any­one can go to Party City and buy a Santa suit, but not ev­ery­one can be Santa. It takes a level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism and per­son­al­ity and the de­sire to be the best that you can be,” said Marchetti, who is a grad­u­ate of Schools 4 Santa and a mem­ber of the In­ter­na­tional Brother­hood of Real Bearded San­tas.

Marchetti was first cast as Santa in his school play at Glen­mar El­e­men­tary, and he re­vised the role in De­cem­ber 1983 dur­ing his se­nior year at Ken­wood High School when he was asked by the prin­ci­pal to visit the kids in the school’s day care cen­ter. Lit­tle did he know that sev­eral decades later he would don a Santa suit again and make it a ca­reer.

His ap­pear­ances in­clude pri­vate home vis­its, cor­po­rate par­ties, Santa break­fasts and other meet and greet events. Marchetti says he cus­tom­izes each and ev­ery event to give the au­di­ence a most mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence. Un­like most San­tas, he has a crew of Elves and even a Mrs. Claus who are avail­able for ap­pear­ances with him.

Marchetti also is sure to make time in his hol­i­day sched­ule to visit the Ron­ald McDon­ald House and work with other char­ity events such as The Mount Wash­ing­ton Pe­di­atric Hos­pi­tal fundraiser with Joe Flacco — the per­fect place to sport his pur­ple suit, which he also wears to Ravens games in De­cem­ber. He is also the sole Santa on Christ­mas morn­ing for the Eastern Fam­ily Re­source Cen­ter shel­ter, where he de­liv­ers gifts cour­tesy of Sean Marsh, owner of Ever­glaze.

One of his fa­vorite events each year is the tree light­ing at the Patux­ent River Naval Base, where he gets to in­ter­act with mil­i­tar y fam­i­lies. But he also loves lo­cal events, be­cause he knows many of the chil­dren who have been com­ing to see him through­out the years, and he en­joys see­ing them grow up.

“I am very much about giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity,” said Marchetti. “When I play Santa, it’s all about giv­ing my time to make some­one’s hol­i­day mem­o­rable.”

Lo­cally, Marchetti is booked to play Santa this Satur­day at The Crazy Tuna to cel­e­brate the Mid­dle River Lighted Boat Pa­rade, one of the largest in the coun­try. He will also have ap­pear­ances at Chick-Fil-a Martin Plaza, Sweet Frog in Perry Hall, and Bill Bate­man’s in Rosedale.

New this year, he has been hired by the Broad­way show Anas­ta­sia to ap­pear at a pan­cake break­fast at the Hip­po­drome. He will also make an­other ap­pear­ance on WJZ Chan­nel 13.

When he’s not play­ing Santa, Marchetti is the owner of Cars 4 Sale on North Point Blvd. in Dun­dalk, and part owner of the Bal­ti­more Shuck­ers mi­nor league bas­ket­ball team. He is also on the Board of Di­rec­tors of the Es­sex Day Fes­ti­val and the Her­itage So­ci­ety of Es­sex and Mid­dle River.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Santa for Hire Brian K. Marchetti, please go to https://www.face­book. com/santaforhiremd/.

CHRIS ALLIEY

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